Wilhelm Grimm’s work "Ueber deutsche Runen" (1821) and his later essay on the same topic (‘Zur Literatur der Runen’, 1828) represent a pioneering achievement: for the first time the diverse surviving manuscripts of runic texts (runica manuscripta) were collected together and thoroughly researched, an attempt was made to define the older runes as ‘German’ and the epigraphic use of runes in Germany was catalogued.
Equally groundbreaking are Wilhelm Grimm’s works on the inscriptions and images found on gold bracteates of the migration period. Before the study of these amulets began in Scandinavia he attempted to interpret a number of them as portrayed in a series of seven engravings from Copenhagen – published here for the first time. The related manuscript, briefly mentioned in 1821, was believed lost until it was discovered in Iceland and published in 1986. Grimm’s achievements in interpretation are particularly impressive in the presentation of the images.
This volume contains not just a reprint but enhanced access (via a glossary and two detailed bibliographies) to Wilhelm Grimm’s work on runes, and his previously little-know work on bracteates is an important addition to the study both of the Grimms and of runes.